Seven Steps to Planning a Useful Team Building Event

Planning a useful team building event can be a challenge, but these seven steps will help you to ensure that your people enjoy not only a great time, but also benefit from insights and lessons that they can apply to workplace interactions.

So, here are your seven steps to planning a useful team building event:

1. Decide what you want to accomplish.

This is the most important part of the event – the preparation and deciding what your day of team building activities should provide as take-aways for your people. Sometimes, you can make a little progress with building rapport with a weekly bonding session or fun de-stressing opportunity to laugh or learn together. But if you do not have experience facilitating team-building activities, or if you want a more thorough and productive set of outcomes, consider hiring a team-building trainer.

A good team-building coach can create cohesiveness and improve communications within your staff using a set of customized games and challenges. The person should be high-energy and focus mainly on experiential exercises (not lecturing) that will provide the take-aways your group needs!

2.Choose a budget and a location. Once you know what you want your team building day to accomplish, you need to decide on a location and a budget to ensure those goals are achieved. If you are looking to reward your employees for successfully completing a big project, you may want an off-site location. Do you want them to get to know each other and work through personality differences or communication issues? Once you have the goal for the day and a general budget in mind, you can schedule an activity for the location that best fits those needs.

3. Schedule it for an appropriate time. Employees will always be more receptive to a team building day of activities if it is held during work hours and does not interfere with their valuable personal time. When you schedule the event, keep your employees’ schedules and other obligations in mind. You may also want to consider the current calendar or any ongoing projects. The best time to “build” your team or identify and work through issues is before that project gets underway – or before a big change is undertaken. Many schools look for dates at the beginning of their semesters to allow their staff to work better together.

4. Make it special. Fun and unique experiences are the best ways to bring your team closer together. Many people are only interested in giving their people a chance to interact outside the normal confines of their office relationships. There is certainly a value in providing “bonding” experiences.

True “Team Building,” though, involves experiential learning activities that are both enjoyable and unique AND can be used as a catalyst for discussions and insights that can be applied to everyday interactions to improve organizational culture. Think about the interests and fitness levels of your employees when deciding on a “fun” activity… and if you want a more impactful event, consider a business team building day of more focused and meaningful challenges.

5. Leave job titles at the door. One of the most important keys to creating a successful team building day is for all employees to feel like they are on equal footing, regardless of their positions back at the office. Emphasize to your people that office titles do not exist during the team building activities. Everyone should be encouraged to leave their ego in their back pocket! Coming in on equal footing and with no perceived subordinates or supervisors allows others who normally may not take the initiative to illustrate their leadership style and fosters better communication and more creativity.

6. Identify who needs to “grow together.” Every team and organization has at least one or two people that struggle to communicate well or rub others the wrong way. If you have a “sandpaper person” in your group, it may pay dividends to plan ahead and arrange your people into the specific groups that most need to interact together and build better relationships.

If there are any team personality types in the group that is clashing with another person or department, give them the opportunity to grow together by placing them in the same group. Being forced to overcome an obstacle or come up with creative solutions or learn more about each other’s background often work wonders and strengthen rapport between team members who have struggled to interact productively in the past!

7. Get feedback. Two or three weeks after the event, ask your people to provide anonymous feedback about the team building day. This can provide valuable information for you to plan similar or more successful events in the future. Team building is like bridge maintenance – it is ongoing and never fully complete, as there are always relationships that can be strengthened and leadership skills that can be learned or improved.

By finding out what your group liked and disliked about the event, or what they have been able to apply to improve your organizational culture, you can address their concerns and re-evaluate your goals to meet other needs with future events.

The true value of a team building day is not the enjoyment and engagement your people experience in the midst of the activities. It is not even the laughter or light hearted lowering of stress levels that you should most want to hear about.

A quality team building event should also provide your people with the tools and insights to make modifications to their daily interactions, priorities, and attitudes.

The return on your investment will be determined by your thorough attention to each of these seven steps – and if you are intent on creating a useful team building event, you will enjoy the success that good preparation promises…

Team building offers a fun, safe, non-threatening way to improve communication, teamwork, and leadership skills with the laughter and lessons that interactive group activities provide.

As an experienced coach, author, speaker, and team-building facilitator, Sean Glaze entertains, informs, and influences audiences with a unique blend of dynamic content, interactive activities, and practical action steps.

Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

What is a team?

There are many kinds of teams. A functional team is a permanent team established to conduct operational activities for a particular part of the organization, such as finance, sales, marketing, etc. There is no specified time limit on functional teams as they are needed to keep the business running. A project team is brought together for a discrete period of time to achieve a defined goal. At the end of the project the team is disbanded. Project teams are often matrix in nature, staffed by members taken from diverse functional teams in order to achieve the project goal. When the Project Manager has a high degree of authority this is known as a strong matrix; when Functional Managers have stronger authority this is known as a weak matrix.

In all organizational structures, there are many ‘teams within teams’. For example, if I am the Manager, I might have several teams within my overall team:

– Me and the whole team

– Me and each individual in my management team

– Me and all of my management team

– Me and my peers in other departments

– Each management team individual and their direct reports

This is complicated enough if the structure is a well-defined functional hierarchy. However, a matrix environment for completing projects adds in another layer of complexity. The functional ‘teams within teams’ still exist and each person has a functional ‘home’ team, but now they also belong to a ‘project’ team which has a finite life span.

All of these teams need nurturing if a project is to be successful. In a matrix environment, allegiance to the project is not created by the structure itself, but rather as a result of the relationships that are developed within the project team. Relationships in all teams are important for success, but on matrix teams, particularly weak matrix teams, where the project manager may have little authority, they are especially important. On such teams, relationships are more difficult to establish, are more fragile, and can be more easily destroyed. Keeping a diverse group of people together in a matrix team depends on building loyalty and trust.

Phases of Team Development

In 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed the theory that a team went through certain phases of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing. The phases can be summarized as follows:

– Forming – the team comes together, starts to understand the goals and boundaries, initiates the tasks, but each individual is still working somewhat independently. Managers need to be directive at this stage in order to steer the team toward the goal.

– Storming – ideas and approaches start to be exchanged about how the work can be accomplished, and this can result in conflict. This phase is critical for the growth of the team, and results in individuals learning ways to work together. Managers still need to be directive at this stage, and also accessible to ensure that conflict is resolved and the team is starting to move forward toward the goal.

– Norming – the team starts to feel a sense of achievement, rules of operation (either formal or informal) are working, and trust begins to form. Managers start to be participative, and need to be available to provide guidance as the team continues to grow together.

– Performing – the team is now maturing and often high performing. Work is accomplished, team members know how to work together, and even though conflict takes place it is managed and navigated with skill and can enhance productivity. The team requires very little supervision at this point and can largely make its own decisions.

Tuckman later added a final phase ‘adjourning’ to acknowledge that teams, in particular project teams, typically break up after the objectives of the project are complete.

Team Building Techniques

Team building activities are conducted in order to develop loyalty and trust which are a critical foundation for getting the most effective results from a matrix project team. Team building is not just about creating ‘fun’ events, although that is part of it. It is also not just about understanding team members through personality assessments, although again, that is part of it. The most effective team building involves combining a variety of tools and techniques.

– Kick off meetings – a new project should be initiated with a kick off meeting so that the purpose of the project, roles and responsibilities and how the project fits into the organization’s overall goals can be understood. This technique can be used in all types of teams, but in a matrix project team that has come together with staff from multiple different sources it is especially important as the team has no established context for the project.

– Team agreements – Teams that know how to work together are more likely to be effective and efficient. Establishing agreements can assist in this process. Collaboratively establishing ground rules for how a team will operate will provide the team with clarity and will ease communication over issues such as boundaries, responsibilities, and team member behavior. Functional teams already have this established through the use of departmental policies and procedures. However for newly formed matrix project teams that do not have rules of operation established as part of their formal organization structure, team agreements is a necessary aspect of building an effective team.

– Delivery process definition – Understanding how the work is to be accomplished makes it easier for a team to work together. Functional teams typically have the process for delivering the work established as part of the departmental rules. Given that the nature of each project may be different, matrix project teams typically do not have initial stated rules for delivering the work. For example, if a software development team is unsure which development lifecycle (waterfall, agile, etc) is being followed to achieve the project goal, confusion and a lack of productivity by the team may result. Clearly defining and establishing a process that is understood by all the players in the newly formed matrix team is critical for the success of the project.

– Conflict management- A skillful Manager will understand that conflict happens on any team and will take the initiative to establish a clear process for managing it. This provides clarity to the team in the event that conflict does occur. A newly created matrix project team will find this especially helpful as the team is not used to working together and will need to navigate this as part of the process of maturing as a team. This will also help the team move more quickly through the ‘storming’ phase of group development.

– Personality assessments – An effective way to understand the other members of a newly formed matrix project team is through team building sessions using personality assessments. These can be simple and quick assessments, such as the Personality Profile: The Shapes Test, or more complex assessments which include Strengthsfinder, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, FIRO-B, Kiersey Temperament Sorter, etc. Regardless of the specific assessment conducted, the results can bring a team significant value in determining how team members can be best utilized, how the project manager can best communicate with specific team members to get the best outcomes, and how people like to be managed to make them efficient and productive. For matrix project teams, personality assessments can help shorten the process by which the team matures and learns to work together to get the results needed by the project.

– Team building events – Group events encourage positive team dynamics to develop and mature. In matrix environments, the development of loyalty and trust is critical to the stability and effectiveness of the matrix structure. Engaging people in activities outside the project allows them to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting and is quite effective in building team esprit de corps. In addition, this allows people to find ways to work together in a non-stressful environment that can then be carried back to the workplace. Some options are:

– Social events – participating in a social activity can create a team spirit that encourages people to support each other when they are at work

– Team building ‘games’ – building or creating something outside of the project may engender a camaraderie that can then be carried back to the working day

– End of project celebration – to acknowledge the success of the project meeting the goal

– Executive Coaching – Individual and group coaching can be an effective tool in all types of organizational structures. Executive Coaches can facilitate team development, as well as individual leadership development, by focusing on areas such as collaboration skills, negotiation skills, addressing personal or group blind spots, and improving communication. For matrix project teams, Executive Coaches can assist in team building events, as well as facilitate personality assessments, and help the group understand its own dynamics and assist the team in becoming more effective. Executive Coaches can also help teams and individuals navigate conflict in an emotionally healthy way that allows the team to move quickly through the ‘storming’ phase of a project and onto the next phases, thus becoming more productive more quickly.

– Regular status updates – There are a variety of ways that status can be gathered and communicated. This is a natural activity in a functional team, as members are typically used to an established status reporting routine and may be more clear on their role in that structure. For newly formed matrix project teams it is important that team members feel that they belong to the team, and can see how their progress affects the overall progress toward the goal. Examples:

– Weekly status meetings

– One on one sessions

– Project dashboards

– Project status reports

– Clear Task Assignment – Assigning work that is relevant, achievable and appropriately challenging for the individual is important in all types of teams. In newly formed matrix project teams it is especially important to make this clear, as clarity is not necessarily provided by the structure itself, as it is in functional teams. Defining tasks clearly and explaining how team members’ roles in completing project tasks contributes to the success of the project, especially in the early stages of team development, is critical to the effectiveness and productivity of the team.

– Recognition and rewards – its is always important to recognize people that either go above and beyond, and in matrix project teams this can feel especially rewarding for the team members, if it has taken both the individuals and the team itself some considerable work to get to the point of operating smoothly together to achieve project goals. This can be in the form of a simple thank you, certificates, bonuses, gift cards, etc.

The techniques described can be used in any type of organizational structure, but are especially important for building loyalty and productivity in matrix teams. In a functional environment a level of allegiance is created by virtue of the structure itself, as there is only one focus for a team member’s loyalty. In a matrix environment a team member has multiple loyalties and may be more loyal to his or her home team than the project team. In addition, projects often have aggressive deadlines and so it is critical that project teams become efficient, effective, and productive as quickly as possible.

The techniques described above can be mapped to Tuckerman’s phases, as described below.

Forming:

– Kick off meetings

– Establish team agreement

– Personality assessments

– Goal Definition

– Clear task assignment

Storming:

– Delivery process definition

– Develop Conflict Management approach

– Executive Coaching

– Goal Reinforcement

– Clear task assignment

– Regular Status Updates

Norming

– Goal Reinforcement

– Executive Coaching

– Team building events

– Clear task assignment

– Regular Status Updates

Performing

– Regular Status Updates

– Recognition and Rewards

Adjourning

– Plan project celebration/social event

– Conduct lessons learned/post project review

Summary

In summary, team structures, even in well ordered functionally structured organizations, are inherently complex. Today’s matrixed organizations make that complexity even greater. Matrix project team members have multiple loyalties and if the team is not cohesive, these divided loyalties can be harmful to the success of the project. There is a variety of team building techniques that can be undertaken to help make teams in matrixed environments more cohesive and successful. Seasoned and successful managers and leaders will continually analyze the team, determine which of Tuckman’s phases the team is in, as well as the needs of individuals, so that effective team building techniques can be employed appropriately.

Karen Davey-Winter is an Executive Coach with over 20 years of experience in Director and Manager roles in large IT organizations. She has managed teams of over 150 people, and has considerable skill in navigating matrix organizational structures, developing leaders, influencing through collaboration and building effective teams.

Team Building – A Process For Increasing Work Group Effectiveness

Too often team building is one of those vague, misused terms managers call into play as a panacea for sluggish work unit performance. The rise in the popularity and use of team building has paralleled the growing perception of work as the output of teams of workers rather than as compartmentalized tasks on an assembly line. Field Research Findings, such as the ones carried out by the American Productivity & Quality Center during their white-collar productivity improvement, multi-organizational field research efforts clearly demonstrate the importance of effective team structures to the overall performance effectiveness of the knowledge/service worker.

The building of a team requires a great deal more effort than simply recognizing the interdependence among workers and work units. It requires, instead, several carefully managed steps and is an ongoing cyclical process. The team-building process presented in this article offers the members of a work group a way to observe and analyze behaviors and activities that hinder their effectiveness and to develop and implement courses of action that overcome recurring problems.

While the underlying purpose of team building is to develop a more effective work group, the specific purposes of the process will depend largely upon the assessment of information gathered during the initial data collection phase. Typically, team building will seek to resolve at least one of the following three issues:

1. A lack of clear goals and expected performance outcomes: Frequently, interview data from work group members reveal that their performance is generally directed by their individual (and often conflicting) performance goals. In that situation, the team-building model can be directed at establishing overall work group goals, which affect both individual and group effort and behavior, and, ultimately, the performance outcomes at both the individual, as well as the group level.

2. Interpersonal conflict and distrust: A lack of trust, supportiveness and communication not only slows down the day-to-day ability of a group to get work done, but also stands in the way of resolving the conflicts that naturally arise as the group makes decisions about its future efforts.

One way to overcome this is to focus on the work problems and improved interpersonal skills necessary for the team to work inter-dependently and more effectively to accomplish the task. In other words, the interpersonal data would be derived from the work context itself rather than from evaluations directed at individual personalities within the group. It is a concerted effort to uncover mutual needs and desired outcomes … a Win-Win approach.

3. A lack of clear roles and leadership: Obviously, duplications of effort result in sub-optimum levels of productivity. But when initial interviews with work unit members suggest confusion over roles, the issues that surface may go well beyond task-specific problems. They may raise questions about who is providing leadership to the group, who feels empowered to act, what sources of power are being wielded and what interpersonal and inter-group relations underlie the group’s effectiveness. When these issues arise, the team-building model uses group meetings to discuss and clarify members’ roles and responsibilities – both prescribed and discretionary

Who are the “players” in the team building process?

On the surface, a “team” suggests a group of interchangeable individuals of equal status. But in reality, most workplace teams have a supervisor or manager charged with leadership and accountability for the group’s performance. Consequently, the team leader plays an important and somewhat different role than do other members in a successful team building effort. Support from the leader is vital because if he or she does not recognize and accept the need for team building, it is unlikely that other members of the work team will be very receptive to the idea.

The Value and Role of a Facilitator-Coach.

In addition to the leader and other team members, successful team building calls for a third party participant in the process – a Facilitator-Coach, a professional with knowledge and experience in the field of applied behavioral science, but who is not a regular member of the team. This person may be an internal resource person in the organization or be someone from outside the parent company/organization..

There are several roles, which this Facilitator-Coach may perform in team building. Perhaps the most common and critical is that of third-party facilitator, a “gate-keeper.” The Facilitator-Coach also trains and coaches the team in becoming more skillful in understanding, identifying, diagnosing and solving its performance problems. To do this, the Facilitator-Coach gathers data needed for the team to conduct its own self- appraisal and structures a “safe” environment that encourages team collaboration and consensus building. As a change agent, the Facilitator-Coach also serves as a catalyst to help bring about a greater degree of openness and trust and increased communication effectiveness.

Another role of the Facilitator-Coach is that of a knowledge resource person, assisting team members to learn more about group dynamics, individual behavior and the skills needed to become more effective as a team and as individuals.

The Facilitator-Coach should generally avoid assuming the role of the “expert.” That is, the Facilitator-Coach’s major function is not to directly resolve the team’s problems, but to help the team learn how to cope with its own problems and become more self-sufficient. If the Facilitator-Coach becomes the controlling force responsible for resolving the group’s difficulties, he or she has denied the team the opportunity to grow by facing and resolving problems confronting them.

What are the steps in the team-building process?

At the core of the process will be a a well-defined process that is made up of a series of structured experiences and events, ones that will be repeated over time, that have been designed to help the group build and sustain a cohesive, effective, and ultimately, a high-performing work team. This process requires carefully laid groundwork as well as long- term follow up and re-evaluation. And further, team building, to be successful in developing and sustaining high performance, must be viewed and accepted as being a “continuous” and on-going process, not an “event” driven activity.

Team building, from a systems perspective, requires several carefully thought out and managed steps and is clearly understood to be an ongoing cyclical process. The team-building process offers members of a work group a way to observe and analyze behaviors and activities that hinder their effectiveness and to develop and implement courses of action that overcome recurring problems. If successfully implemented, the team building process is integrated into the work team’s day-to-day operations.

Assuming work group manager-leader and team members, after having an opportunity to become aware of what the team building process has to offer and requires of them, have indicated and voiced their support for the team building process, the first preparatory step is the introduction of the Facilitator-Coach to the team. Often this is done by the team leader during a regular staff meeting at which the Facilitator-Coach is introduced to the group. The role of the Facilitator-Coach is discussed as well as the process and potential benefits of team building.

In preparation for the kick-off of the team-building process, the Facilitator-Coach will then take responsibility for the next step – the gathering of data from each team member about the “strengths” and “weaknesses” of the team and barriers to effective team performance. This diagnostic phase will typically make use of questionnaires and/or interviews.

he use of personal interviews has several advantages. First, interviews provide the Facilitator-Coach a better understanding of the team, its functions and its problems. Second, interviews enable the Facilitator-Coach to develop rapport with team members and to begin to establish a relationship of openness and trust. Third, interviews provide the opportunity for each individual team member to participate in the identification of the work group’s strengths and weaknesses. Finally, personal interviews are flexible. On the other hand, the less flexible questionnaire approach ensures that common areas will be covered by all team members.

After conducting the interviews or surveys, the Facilitator-Coach summarizes the information, which is to be fed back to the group during the team-building meeting. A useful way of presenting the comments is according to the frequency with which the items were
mentioned or accorded to major problem areas.

During the actual team-building meeting, the data feedback session becomes a springboard for the rest of the session’s activities. With the assistance and support of the Facilitator-Coach, the group then formulates an agenda and decides on the priorities of the issues raised by the diagnostic phase.

Before the team-building meeting ends, action plans are developed which specify the steps the group will take in attempting to resolve specific problems.

What factors influence the success of team building?

Because effective team building is not a one-shot affair, a schedule of future team- building efforts needs to be established. For lasting change to take place, subsequent meetings will need to review the implementation of action plans and investigate additional problem areas.

As mentioned earlier, the support and commitment of the formal team leader (Work Group Manager) are critical to successful team building. His or her attitude toward the process has an obvious impact upon other team members. Furthermore, because discussion sometimes centers on the team leader’s behavior, he or she has to be open to constructive criticism.

The leader must also fully understand team building, its time requirements and implications. The leader’s own personality and leadership style influence the probability of the success of tear-n building. If the team manager is not comfortable with a participative style of leadership, team development simply will not work.

The other team members should also want to become involved in the effort and believe in its relevance. Otherwise, team building may be viewed as a ploy by the leader to pacify the team or simply as a substitute for effective management. Each individual within the group should be part of the effort and feel personally secure to participate in the process.

Since the team-building efforts may create a change in the relationship between the team and the organization, the support of executive management is also vital. The chances for a successful team-building effort are improved if the team has knowledge of any organizational constraints on the options for making changes within the team.

The timing of team building is another critical factor. If the team is experiencing turmoil or confusion over its direction (mission, goals, purpose, objectives, leadership, changes, etc.), the time could be ripe for team-building efforts to begin because the members may feel a need to establish what is expected of them. Thus, their receptivity to the process is often increased under such destabilizing conditions.

Finally, team building requires adequate time for the activities to take effect. Relatively large blocks of time and even changes in the work setting are sometimes needed for team building. Separation from the workplace during the initial team meeting phase of the process is frequently needed to avoid work pressures and interruptions and to help generate greater commitment and increased concentration from team members.

What are the results of successful team building?

The team-building process may affect several levels within the organization. First, the individuals in the team may become more sensitive to the impact of their behavior on the effective functioning of the team. More self-awareness may also lead to changed behavior patterns. For example, recognition by the team leader that he or she does not share leadership and decision making with others may provide the impetus to adopt a more participative style.

Second, team building may help team members realize that different and better approaches exist to the way the team operates and performs its work. Third, team building may affect the relation- ship of the group to the rest of the organization. For example, a team member may stop using other parts of the organization as scapegoats to hide his or her own inefficient operations. Ultimately, greater harmony among organizational units could well result.

John N. Younker, Ph.D.

John Younker is the President and co-founder of Associates In Continuous Improvement, a Houston, Texas based advisory and educational resource to executives and senior managers. Additionally, he has served, since 1993, as a Chair for Vistage International (formerly The Executive Committee – TEC), a developmental resource for CEO’s and Presidents. John also makes the time to serve as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship and as a Guest Lecturer for the Eisenhower Leadership Series, George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Former roles include the Director of the Our Lady of the Lake University – Houston MBA Program., Senior Vice President for The Institute, Inc. and Vice President and Senior Field Researcher at the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC). John works with a broad range of client organizations, is a frequent speaker and lecturer, and is a well-published author. John holds a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Memphis.

Real Team Building – Why Is It So Important And Valuable For You?

TEAM-BUILDING – With so many companies now doing, or considering, some kind of team-building, what’s the best route to consider? Team-building, as it’s commonly called, varies from blithe, frivolous group entertainment and motivation like; Quad-biking, soccer, cooking, shooting, mini-golf, foozeball, ballooning, etc… all the way through to what we term… TRANSFORMATIVE Team-Building – Real Team-Building that impacts people on a Head, Heart & Soul level and has long-lasting efficacy.

It’s a well know fact that stuff like motivational talks don’t last or add any real value – so why then do people waste their money paying anything up to R15,000 for a 1 hour motivational talk? Motivation is like manipulation!

And who wants to be manipulated right now? If you were to invest in your team building, would you not want to get the best value you could for your investment of time, money and people resources? Any intelligent person would want the best return (ROI) on their corporate team-building expenditure.

So, imagine for a moment a scale from 0 to 10. The zero side is “light group entertainment” or motivational stuff. On the other side – 10 is HERO a “transform-your-people-and-your-team” process that impacts Heads, Hearts and Souls, lasts a life-time – and enhances performance, productivity, resilience, relationships and your workplace. Now make an intelligent decision…What level of results would you choose if you were to embark on a team-building?

Whats the best way to blend your team cultures into a cohesive whole?

Group Entertainment – NOT Real Team Building! If we consider, what is thought to be, a typical team building event; people go on some planned outing for a day, somewhere offsite. They may get a little revved up, wear colored arm-bands or shirts, paint faces, play some games, shoot arrows, walk planks, laugh a little or a lot, have a free meal or braai, a few drinks and then go home…klaar!

On the day, what we don’t see, just under the surface, is that the office politics and people issues are still alive and well. People still fear; appearing useless, being uncomfortable or making a fool of themselves. Staff accumulate in their usual clans, and the office-clown is again, thoughtlessly, even more mordant with their jabs and jousts. Often greater barriers to real team-building and a friendlier, more productive workplace, are created.

Intollerence prevails – and never the cultures shall blend!

All in all, when Monday comes around, the old dynamics, office politics and factions remain as before. The people are as jaded as ever, if not more so now! And the “TEAM” is just a pretense. Life goes on just the same as it did before the group outing.

People know nothing new about each other or their cultures. So what was it all really about? This is treating the symptom – not the foundation or real causes. So why even do it? Why would you spend money on something that does not solve your problem or deliver real value?

Lack of; relationships, inclusion, trust, truth, engagement and inspiration is a problem – A real problem for your team-building and your improved results delivery in a diverse multi-cultural reality we call our Rainbow Nation.

Alternative – The HERO side…An Uncommon but REAL Team Build Process. Imagine a team-building process that would remove barriers and change your office energy, work environment, attitudes, trust levels and team-spirit forever.

Consider…What’s the best way to really build your team. What aspects would need to be addressed to ensure long-term impact and profoundly positive results? In a real team-building process the following core aspect must be addressed in order to build a sustainable and strong workplace foundation that fosters optimal team effectiveness.

TRUST! – #1 issue to be addressed is TRUST. True authentic trust and communication between the people, as well as the team and management is critical. If you have no trust your team could bust! Trust is the anchor-stone of success. It’s a proven fact that trust makes or breaks relationships.

Trust’s the business lubricant, just like the super lubricant Teflon I hear you think…is TRUST really more important than our great systems, policies and organisational structure? Absolutely Yes! A low trust workplace and mistrusting culture can, and will, sabotage and disrupt any system. Just look at the number of CRM (Customer Rel Mngmt) initiatives that fail – IT’s the people who make it happen from a Head, Heart and Soul level. No/low trust and engagement = no real team, not really sustainable in a human manner.

Is TRUST really more important than our great Vision & espoused Values?

Absolutely Yes! I don’t care how impressive your vision is or what your Values are, the drag of a low trust workplace will hold you back you from truly attaining that vision and walking those values – authentically and fully. Values are for everyone, all of the time, not some of the time and some of the people. TRUST is a MUST to thrive.

Is TRUST really more important than a good strategy? Absolutely Yes! All strategies have to be executed. Efficient and optimal execution is built on high trust and high levels of certainty. High trust cannot transform poor strategy, but it can make it better. Give me a team of fools on fire vs a group of indifferent, mistrusting, disengaged rocket-scientists, any day!

Is TRUST really more important than COMPETENCIES and skills?

Again absolutely Yes! Skills and competencies are a head-based issue. No matter how skilled a person or team/group, the “drag” or friction of a low-trust workplace will ensure that those skills are not optimally, if ever, fully applied. Trust is a heart AND head based issue. And let’s be real here…nothing will deter real talent like a dictatorial-high-control, low-trust, low-engagement workplace.

If you consider what is impacted in a team-building event, it behooves us to make optimal use of the time, efforts, expense and team-building opportunity by really growing your people. That’s why our Life Masters team-building is designed as a powerful, unique, transformational process…and not just a light event. Our Team building is designed to change lives and workplaces on a long-term basis. You can do the light fun, group entertainment stuff, but we’d favor adding real value and results to your business and your team-building / blending efforts. Trust is the “must” of the 21st century.

Aspects Vital to a True Team Building Process

In order to truly build a strong team and foundation, the following core areas offer valuable results when addressed…trust levels, truth, attitudes, anger, limiting beliefs, misunderstandings, disappointments, judgments, personal politics, unresolved issues, honesty, constructive feedback, interpersonal relationships, satisfaction levels, self-awareness, self-esteem, confidence and confidentiality, resilience / Adversity Intelligence (AQ), engagement levels, caring, Emotional Intelligence, hidden agendas, outdated

management-styles, transgressions kept secret, blockages, cultural intolerance, conflict, consciousness & energy levels.

REAL Team Building Is Predicated Upon These Perspectives

” …that all people are precious, valuable and can be your greatest assets if developed effectively;

” …that work is a platform for people to enjoy, grow, love; and to experience higher levels of self-worth, self-esteem, value and happiness;

” …that work is an opportunity for people to make a positive contribution whilst making a profit for the shareholders;

” …that you spend more time awake with co-workers than the ones you apparently love – why not also love your co-workers? Keep your mind clean here please!

” …that people bring their Heads, Hearts and Souls to work – So for optimal engagement grow and build your people on a Head, Heart & Soul level. Discover and support their CAUSES to gain maximum commitment and participation.

Whilst it’s true that profit is the “lifeblood” of your business, consider that it shouldn’t be the only purpose and aim of your business. You don’t get too much engagement from people when the only reason for them working is survival, and to make the shareholders and bosses wealthier – That’s GREEDERship, not LEADERship! No Soul in that goal!

REAL Team-Building Follows A Clear & Systematic Process.

” Research the environment, the people, the issues and the desired outcomes and intentions of the team build. We use: EQ, Resilience, Higher Ground Leadership, C.A.S.T.L.E. workplace scan, Human Energy Levels Project, team fitness, stress & JQ20 Engagement

” Build Trust and truth between the facilitators and the participants.

” Explore what people would really love to have in their workplace and what’s currently working well.

” Reveal what their current workplace really has in existence right now – The good, the bad and the ugly!

” Examine the GAP between desire/ ideal and current reality

” Design an encounter that is confidential, powerful, fun, engaging, transformational and life long last in results.

” Deliver the processes designed to build trust, address the issues, resolves the conflicts, opens communications remove barriers, builds and renews relationships based upon a “clean slate” with a joint vision and destiny.

” Follow-up with coaching, feedback, email tips and gatherings to celebrate and strengthen relationships, trust, truth, engagement and results.

Imagine the difference in your workplace on Monday after a real team-building

encounter where people actually like, respect, understand, trust and care for

each other. Work becomes enjoyable, and your workplace can become a WowPlace.

It’s hard to not have a great team after that.

Some comments we’ve heard from people after our special custom created team-transformation encounters…

” “Awesome!!… improved my self-confidence and my commitment to clear goals” – Helen
” “life changing. …was mind and life changing”- Bosman
” “My expectations were totally surpassed” – Jenny
” “ABSOLUTELY AWESOME are the only 2 words I can use to describe the feelings, thoughts and energy experiences that I experienced today” – Darryl
” “In every possible way it touched every point in my life. 0 out of 10.
Workshop leader was awesome” – Zelda
” “I never expected to get out what I did. EVERYBODY in business should do this. I call it Lifeline!!! Tony is amazing. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for what he taught me – Thuli
” “Thanks for your workshop, support and input which have changed my life at home and work. No problem or challenge is to big to overcome in my life. Nothing will get me down!!!!” Regards Chris
” “There is only one word to describe the team building session at Bakabung – “POSITIVE”. My team and I are committed and honest. What I said at Bakabung I will do – I am doing, and so are my team members. My experience is that we (team) are far more relaxed and open as before. I see my team totally different (positive) than before. I see SUPPORT, TRUST, HONESTY, HUMOUR & SPIRIT in my team. I had a super experience at the team building and I seriously think we need to escalate it down to our subordinates” – Cassie
” “The experience has been totally unlike any other team building in the sense that it has affected me (powerfully) at a personal level. It certainly forced me to look at what is really important” – Anita
” “I must admit – my team IS genuine and the change is INCREDIBLE. The support, openness, love and “warm fuzzies” are definitely there. The experience of the team building session was worth every cent. You did wonders and thanks to my team” – C
” “Tony, what a positive influence you have had on my life. I am not sure how you thank someone for something so significant, so I am sending you warm fuzzies for now. I am paying it forward!” Namaste’ – K
” “I release my past hurts and distrust of whites and commit to moving forward, together, as a real team” – TF

People in genuine encouraging teams are happier, healthier, more supportive, more resilient, honest, truthful, more energetic, more engaged, have more fun, earn more and are more satisfied with themselves and their lives.

If you are considering revamping your productivity, going on a team-building session or wanting to inspire your staff, ensure that the impact and effectiveness deliver real lasting value. Make your decision on VALUE not on PRICE!

Team Building Events – The 5 Basic Points Everyone Needs to Know.

1. Team Building Explained

For years now, people’s perception of team building has been synonymous with images of people building rafts, taking part in ‘awkward’ trust exercises, or being stranded whilst orienteering in the middle of nowhere.

It may come as a surprise to a lot of people to learn that things have actually evolved.

A survey by Vodafone UK and YouGov has concluded the UK staff have become turned off by team building as they often breed ‘awkwardness’. According to the survey, experiences like being blindfolded and led by colleagues are considered the least effective team-building activities.

Findings showed the most effective events are social events like going out for a drink or a meal; Team building events that are interactive, fun, fast-paced and down-right entertaining event are the sort you will want to share with colleagues.

2. Conferences – The Good/The Bad

Whilst conferences are the single most common way to converge an entire company in one location for a collaborative session of discussion and networking, quite often you are asked to provide Conference Energiser activities to whip-up the room and revitalise delegates throughout the away-day after prolonged periods of intense presentations and slide shows.

A poorly delivered Staff Conference can have a negative impact on the morale of your employees.

Without the addition of carefully choreographed team building activities, energisers or keynote speaker, you can be faced with delegates criticising the day for being “death-by-PowerPoint”, “chalk-and-talk” or another favourite is “analysis-paralysis”.

3. Think about Going Abroad

Organising team building events that are to be delivered overseas and internationally can be a daunting event to manage as there are so many variables and added logistics to cope with; hundreds of flights, hundreds of requirements, hundreds of hotel rooms – all in a venue that aren’t exactly fluent in english – needless to say things can be lost in translation!

That being said the output of such an event is very useful to a team and something where people are away from their comfort zone and having to work together will definitely mould a team quicker and stronger than anything local.

4. What team building events will your team most enjoy?

Often clients want to drill down to finite details about the specific activities that make up team building workshops including a minute-by-minute agenda. Not only is that not applicable for this type of training since it’s often a fluid and dynamic process, but it is really focusing on the texture of the bark on the trees rather than stepping back for a view of the forest.

What is important is having a clear goal for this portion of your meeting. One mistake companies make is having a “We do a team building activity at this meeting every year” attitude with no real thought about what they want to get out of it. How do you choose the right team building activity? It’s best to take the Stephen Covey approach and begin with the end in mind.

Before you start filling out internet forms and making phone calls to team building companies, think about the goals for this session. If you are the information gatherer, press the decision makers for additional information beyond the tired and overused “team building” and “communication” for something more concrete like breaking down silos or building creative problem solving skills. On the surface you might be looking for something fun and interactive, but there’s a good chance that if the company is spending thousands of dollars on this event, someone is looking for tangible outcomes.

Team building activities are exercises that can help teams build cohesion and work through a host of common group issues. They are used as educational tools to provide opportunities to at least begin discussions that can be continued back at the workplace.

How do you choose the right team building activity for your meeting? It’s like the ingredients of a delicious recipe. Instead of focusing on the bok choy, which isn’t particularly interesting in itself but put in context of other ingredients becomes a flavourful dish, begin with the end in mind. If you take a step back and focus on the goals and outcomes from your meeting you will make the right decision for a team building activity.

5. When to do team building? Take a look at January!

Research has shown that one of the best ways to avoid that after Christmas lull into depression is by doing things that actually give you a cause to look forward to something. So why not invigorate your team and give them something to get excited about with a January kick-off teambuilding events. A fun corporate event means that whilst Christmas is over, the gifts just keep on giving. Activities testing physical, mental, skill and creative capabilities revive the thrill of Christmas and good old family fun, and your team will be left feeling energised and ready to take on the working world once more. Or why not revitalise your team and get their engines going with a straight-talking super-car racetrack experience or Golf Day?

There are a range of no-nonsense successful packages catering to any budget and that really aim to target the core skills for devising your perfect team, teambuilding events are guaranteed to put a much needed smile on your employees face… and yours too!

New Year’s resolutions – we’ve all made them. Whether it’s deciding to join the gym and actually use it this year, de-clutter the house or stick to your diet for longer than just New Year’s Day this time around, January 1st is a day designed for CHANGE.

But for all our good intentions and spirit, studies have shown that by January 10th most of us will have already given up our resolutions, a mere nine days after they were made, with three-quarters of 3,000 British admitting they were no longer confident they would stick to their promises for the rest of the month.If you’re failing to see these changes through at home though, don’t let this be the case at work. Take the opportunity to really target the issues you may have with your team and challenge them to raise their game. Now we’re not talking a full-blown bloody boxing match to get the competitive side out of your team or making 2013 changes… instead instil a sense of healthy competition and determination in your employees with a team building corporate event high on energy, high on fun.